SEM Imaging of Rocks of the Finger Lakes Region

Sean Maksimuk, Chemical Engineering, University of Rochester


From the SEM images and EDX analysis several information was obtained.


1) The flakey shales had micrstructures of up to couple microns in length and width and several tens of nanometers in thickness. The shales can be easily pealed apart from each other like graphite, and this is easily understandable as the building units of these rocks consisted of very fine layers of aluminosilicates.

2) Crystallization of foreign species can occur between the layers of these shales, as observed in the case of sample 5 from Enfield Glen. The appearance was completely different from the usual rocks in that it was brown, and each layer that is peeled off has a brownish coating to it. These were found to be some iron containing sulfates.

3) The lower regions of each glen contained samples with calcium, while the higher regions did not contain any. It is most likely that the oceanic environments changed and that less aquatic organisms inhabited this region in the late Devonian Period.

4) The siltstone and shale regions in the lower portion of the Buttermilk Falls had different morphologies and somewhat different compositions. As expected the shale region had more fine grains than the siltstone region. Also the shale region contained mostly aluminosilicates while the siltstone region contained various species such as calcium sulfate and quartz, along with aluminosilicates.